Ball-Lighting

comedy

Typology

feature

Czech title

Kulový blesk

Runtime

82

Country

Czechoslovakia

Copyright

1978

Production year

1978

Premiere

10.08.1979

Language version

Czech

Director

Ladislav Smoljak, Zdeněk Podskalský

Screenplay

Ladislav Smoljak, Zdeněk Svěrák, Zdeněk Podskalský

Screenstory

Ladislav Smoljak, Zdeněk Svěrák

Summary

With Kulový blesk (Ball-Lighting), a comedy about a multiple apartment exchange, screenwriters Zdeněk Svěrák and Ladislav Smoljak again demonstrated their rare ability to transform the reality of the post-1968 normalisation period into an inventive and intelligent spectacle for viewers. The dismal housing situation of the period inspired “the biggest operation in the history of moving”: a 12-way flat swop. This is organised by the vivacious lawyer Radosta, though naturally a broad variety of obstacles stand in his way. Operation Ball-Lighting is complicated by the hesitation of the wily pensioner Jechová, the wedding of older couple Flieger and Opatrná and the inebriation of the psychologist Knotek. The gargantuan operation requiring perfect coordination is also threatened by the apparent death of opera singer Bílek, which pushes the careworn Radosta into fiendish improvisation bordering on the illegal… A testimony of late 1970s Czechoslovakia can be seen through the façade of a zany comedy that has acquired cult status. From the inventor Severín to the psychologist Knotek to Radosta the lawyer, the film’s characters are unable to realise their potential in a normal manner, squandering their creative aptitude on trivialities. The playful futility of oppressed existence is symbolised by Severín’s “model train from Vizovice”. Though filled with situational humour and unforgettable “catchphrases”, the comedy is not lacking in the touching moments typical of the oeuvre of Zdeněk Svěrák, who plays Dr. Ječný. As well as playing Severín, Ladislav Smoljak sat in the director’s chair for the first time. The debutant was assisted by the experienced Zdeněk Podskalský, who two years later helmed another successful picture from the renowned screenwriting duo – the musical comedy Trhák (Blockbuster). Among the enduring film’s unquestionable qualities is the cast, led with verve by Rudolf Hrušínský as Radosta. Alongside other seasoned actors (Josef Abrhám, Daniela Kolářová, Zita Kabátová) colleagues of the screenwriters from the Jára Cimrman Theatre appear in small roles.

Synopsis

In the flat of the retired opera singer Bílek there is a meeting of people wishing to exchange their flats: Pulpán, Kadlec, Ječný, Knotek families, M.Sc Severin, Mr Flieger and Mrs Opatrná, Mrs Jechová, the Drahota family, Pivoňka and the Fazekaš family. The "duodeca-exchange" is organized by a lawyer Radosta, who labelled the action "the lightning ball". Radosta appoints Severin a link and Knotek his deputy. The preparations are accompanied by problems. Radosta changes the wedding date of an older couple Ms Opatrná and Mr Flieger, he nominates Knotek to become their best man. Knotek gets drunk at the wedding and goes door to door of the flat-exchange participants at night to train the moving house. Drahota complains about him and Knotek goes door-to-door the next day again to apologize. He has problems with the hesitating Mr Jechová. She gold-digs from him a washing machine, a cellar exchange, which costs him two thousand crowns and moving 20 quintals of coal to a neighbour's cellar. The night before the term, Knotek and Kadlec help Bílek to pack his things. The "D day "comes. Jechová wants to withdraw from the exchange agreement but Radosta makes her not to do so as he threatens her to pay expenses. Knotek and his wife find Bílek dead the next morning. As the exchanges can be made only by people "alive" due to the administrative procedures, they cover Bílek with a blanket and take him away complete with the sofa. However, there comes to a mismatch and everything is going to turn in a catastrophe. Luckily Bílek wakes up from a deep sleep and the action is crowned with success. Knotek is standing on his new flat balcony with a beautiful view of Prague thinking that when he gets old he will also have to move house. The lawyer Radosta meanwhile plans another record-breaking flat exchange.

Note

Radosta´s schedule shows the date of the event the 21st of September 1978.

Cast

Rudolf Hrušínský

JUDr. Radosta, organizátor stěhování

Karel Kalaš

operní pěvec mistr Bílek

Josef Abrhám

psycholog PhDr. Vladimír Knotek

Daniela Kolářová

Věra, Knotkova žena

Bedřich Prokoš

ženich Bohumil Flieger

Zita Kabátová

nevěsta Jarmila Opatrná

Milada Ježková

Anežka Jechová

Ladislav Smoljak

vynálezce ing. Severín

Zdeněk Svěrák

MUDr. Ječný

Marie Málková

Olina, žena Ječného

Rudolf Vodrážka

Kadlec, rozvádějící se manžel

Karolina Slunéčková

Kadlecová, rozvádějící se manželka

Karel Bělohradský

Klabouch, Knotkův soused, majitel sklepa

Petr Brukner

Mirek Pivoňka

Vlasta Žehrová

Andělka, Pivoňkova žena

Věra Kalendová

Máňa, kamarádka Jechové

Jaroslav Vozáb

inspektor Drahota

Zora Božinová

Drahotova žena

Daniel Beran

Štěpán, syn Knotkových

Dana Vávrová

Alenka, dcera Knotkových

Vít Olmer

majitel houslí

Emilie Zíchová

svatební svědkyně s houslemi

Tibor Kiss

otec Fazekaš

Marie Kissová

Eržika, matka Fazekašová

Eliška Moulisová

Eržika, dcera Fazekašových

Marie Kissová ml.

Maruška, dcera Fazekašových

A. Kissová

dcera Fazekašových

Rudolf Pechan

dispečer

David Smoljak

Jirka, syn Kadlecových

Jan Cmíral

stěhovák

Petr Drozda

stěhovák

Karel Engel

stěhovák

Karel Hovorka ml.

stěhovák

Bohumil Koška

stěhovák

Zdeněk Srstka

stěhovák

Miloslav Štibich

stěhovák

Miroslav Vaverka

stěhovák

Vít Pešina

Půlpán

V. Prášilová

Půlpánova žena

Erich Fichtner

Fliegerův kamarád

Josef Střecha

Fliegerův kamarád

Václav Kotek

ženich u předcházející svatby

Z. Petrová

nevěsta u předcházející svatby

Pavel Vondruška

oddávající úředník

Zdena Lukášová

babička Knotková

Ivan Šlapeta

muž v noční košili

dr. P. Burian

muž v okně

Jiří Flíček

otec na schodech

Josef Koudelka

fotograf

Alice Pinková

žena na schodišti

H. Jirková

žena na schodišti

Alexandra Korytová

žena

Oldřich Semerák

dubl

Terezie Smoljaková

Knotkova sousedka

Filip Smoljak

Filip, vnuk Knotkovy sousedky

Dubbing

Zdeněk Blažek

hlas Vedrala, klienta Radosty

Crew and creators

Second Unit Director

Zdena Lukášová

Assistant Director

Eliška Moulisová, Pavla Marková

Script Editor

Václav Šašek

Second Unit Photography

Richard Valenta

Camera Operator

Jiří Maxa

Production Designer

Boris Moravec

Set Designer

Oldřich Halaza, Dvořák Josef (výprava), Miroslav Matuška, Richard Staněk

Costume Designer

Jitka Polednová

Film Editor

Jiří Brožek

Sound Designer

Jiří Lenoch

Production Manager

Karel Kochman

Unit Production Manager

Věra Lukášová, Petr Prejda

Unit Production Manager

Eliška Sekavová

Cooperation

Zora Winkelhöferová, Jan Kuděla, Eva Horázná, Rimma Stejskalová, Boris Halmi

Music

Music Composed by

Zdeněk Lukáš

Selected Music

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Don Giovanni /Leporello/), Antonín Dvořák (Jakobín /My cizinou jsme bloudili/)

Music Performed by

FISYO

Music Conducted by

František Belfín (FISYO)

Production info

Original Title

Kulový blesk

English Title

Ball-Lighting

Copyright

1978

Production Year

1978

Premiere

10.08.1979

Creative Group

Drahoslav Makovička

Technical info

Format

Betacam, DVD

Versions

Czech

Awards

Vítěz

Festival: 30. filmový festival pracujících – léto ´79

1979
62 měst / Czechoslovakia
Ladislav Smoljak

Vítěz

Festival: 1. celostátní festival české a slovenské filmové veselohry Nové Město nad Metují

1979
Nové Město nad Metují / Czechoslovakia

Vítěz

Festival: 30. filmový festival pracujících – léto ´79

1979
62 měst / Czechoslovakia
Zdeněk Svěrák